all that glitters is not gold
the glorious and sometimes tarnished silver family

by Dennis E. Power


At the end of Treasure Island, Long John Silver escapes from hanging with a bag of gold. Stevenson says "that he returned to his old Negress, and perhaps still lives in comfort with her and Captain Flint" Yet Mr. Farmer states that Silver had gone to New York married the widow of a young Hudson River patroon and gained a fortune by smuggling during the revolution.

We can only guess that the Crown seized Mr. Silver’s assets when he was sentenced to hang, which included the Anchor Inn in Bristol and possibly his Wife and their children. If they were still slaves, selling them off in West Indies. Or his wife may have fled to an appointed place in the West Indies where she and the children were seized and sold as slaves.

Mrs. Silver and her children were sold off in America. Silver followed their trail as best as he could but found no trace of them. Although I am still researching what happened to most of Long John Silver’s descendants of African descent, I have been able to pinpoint a few, among whom is his grandson James Douglas, slave of Widow Douglas of St. Petersburg, Missouri. Famed as the character "Nigger Jim" of Huckleberry Finn. His grandson of course was James Douglas Henry (James West II)

James Douglas’ brother Silas escaped from slavery in 1850 and traveled west to California where he became a prospector. He became friends with Tom Barkley and eventually saved Barkley’s life from some violent claim jumpers. Silas became Tom Barkley’s constant companion and eventually became the House Manager of the Barkley estate.

One of Silver's grandsons carried on his penchant for larceny. Although he had been born free he and a friend named, Quincy Drew made a business out of bilking slave owners. His friend, Drew, a White man would pretend to sell him to a Plantation owner for a fair amount and then would help Jason escape from the Plantation. Quincy Drew was the somewhat black sheep of a distinguished New England family. His family were jurists and teachers and were involved in the Abolitionist movement and it is rumored, in the Underground Railroad. Quincy he used his intelligence and charisma for dunning people he considered evil.

    After acquiring a fortune by bilking slave owners he settled down to become a philanthropist and lawyer. His son was Carson Drew, father of Nancy.

Their plans went awry in 1857 when Jason actually spent some time as a slave, until successfully escaping and leading several others to freedom. (Skin Game 1971) In 1858, he joined the Underground Railroad helping several other slaves escape to Mexico. He joined Union Army during the Civil War. Using the nickname Buck, he later lead a group of Blacks homesteaders to the west (Buck and the Preacher)

As for Long John Silver’s other descendants, we know from Mr. Farmer that they included Arizona Jim Silver, a prospector, gambler and lawman in the West whose exploits were chronicled in Max Brand's Silvertip series. His son, Silverhorns Silver a famed Western sheriff (who may have been the inspiration for Sheriff Blaisdell of Oakley Hall’s novel Warlock, the filmed version starring Henry Fonda) and of course Greatheart Silver, Dirigible Captain and trouble magnet.

During his tenure as a smuggler Long John Silver kept up contacts with his former "colleagues" in the West Indies shipping trade so in 1790, a few years before his death, he was astonished to be contacted by a Haitian Sugar factor who claimed to have two of his grandsons. One of Silver’s daughters had been sold to the Haitian Sugar Factor and had become his mistress. She had borne him two sons, Pierre and Jean. The Sugar Factor had the idea of setting up a "trade" area in the Mississippi delta and thought that if Silver would aid him he would manumit the boys and set them up to run the business.

Silver agreed and had the boys stay with him at his house in Westchester New York for a year before while the Sugar Factor set up the base of operations in the Mississippi delta. Pierre and Jean spent the rest of their child hood in the delta.

Silver died in 1800 but dispatched one of his younger sons to take over the New York branch of the family’s business in the delta.

Unbeknownst to Silver and to Pierre, the Sugar Factor was an Eridanean adoptee and had chosen Jean to be his heir. Jean received the longevity serum upon reaching adult hood. The Sugar Factor was given another mission and another identity.

Jean’s mission was to do what he could to increase American trade in the area and to hamper the Spanish influence.

Jean and his brother Pierre bought a blacksmith shop in New Orleans on the Rue de St. Phillippe. They used the surname Laffite.

The smithy was, as it turned out, merely a cover, which served as a depot where the brothers Laffite took orders for goods recently "confiscated" from ships at sea. For men who were supposed to have been new to a city, they quickly learned its unique, stylish habits and customs, too-quickly understood its sometimes curious laws, too-quickly learned the angles, and too-quickly ingratiated themselves with the local merchandise retailers and bankers, as well as the aristocracy

In 1807, their 20 year old Uncle Argus Silver of the New York Silvers arrived in New Orleans to open a trade house. He became the silent partner of his nephews. He had with him his younger, headstrong sister Emma. In 1810 she became thoroughly entranced by Estevan De La Cruz, an older gentleman of Spanish origin. Although her brother had serious doubts about the marriage, he reluctantly approved. Estevan gave Argus Silver the deed of Spanish Gold Mine in New Mexico as a present for his entrance into the family. Emma Silver, and her considerable dowry married De La Cruz in 1811.

    Laffite discovered De La Cruz to be a paid agent of the Spanish crown working to undermine French and U.S. interests in the delta. Estevan and his wife fled to Tejas, taking all of her dowry, and whatever else he could lay his hands on.

The Laffites were well regarded by much of the growing metropolis despite the open secret of them being pirates. They even became war heroes aiding Andrew Jackson in the Battle of New Orleans. However, as the central government began to exert more control on trade in the delta, Jean Lafitte, despite his hero status found himself increasingly unwelcome.

Jean Laffite left New Orleans ostensibly because of his troubles with the U.S. Territorial government, in reality he had been ordered to bring about an end to Spanish domination of the Caribbean. He first attempted to establish a base on Santo Domingo but the Spanish government would have none of it, so Laffite established trade colony on Galveston Island, where he traded with the Texan mainland and the Mexican rebels.

Laffite’s fame proved to be too much of a hindrance so he was ordered to establish cover identities in Mexico, California, Texas and the United States. When these were well established he was ordered to abandon the identity of Laffite. He burned his fortress Campeche to the ground and parted ways with his brother Pierre. Pierre stayed in the southwestern area and had a family. His son might have become the good hearted rogue, The Cisco Kid.

    Jean Lafitte gave full support Mexico’s Independence. As Juan Murieta he was a trader and gunrunner for Santa Anna. Based in Los Angeles he married and had three children before being ordered to sever his Mexican ties in 1834 and establish aid in revolutions in South America. Faking his death, he left his wife and children well provided for but Rafael Montero cheated her of her property and wealth. She died in prison after speaking out against Montero, leaving her sons as orphans.

Her sons were Joaquin and Alejandro Murieta. Alejandro Murieta married Elena de la Vega. Their son Joaquin Murieta de la Vega assumed the name Ken Mason and followed in his father and grandfather’s careers as Zorro. Their other son Randolph became an attorney who was not always exactly scrupulous; his cases are recorded by Melville Davisson Post. Randolph’s son however became world renown as the attorney Perry Mason whose exploits were recorded by Erle Stanley Gardner.

Ken Mason had a son named Jake born in 1880. In 1900 Jake Mason has a son, Buck Mason born in Comanche County, New Mexico. Buck is featured in the E.R. Burroughs book Deputy Sheriff of Comanche County

As to Laffite's later career I have not yet been able to discern, according to legend Some say he fought with Bolivar’s rebels against the South American nationalists. Other suppositions place him ahead of a band of pirates in Santo Domingo or dying of a plague at age 47 on the Isle de Las Mujeres near Yucatan. Some claimants even say he married in Charleston, moved west with his wife, bore children and died in Alton, Illinois on May 5,1854

In Tejas, Estevan de la Cruz finally settled down to become a gentleman farmer. He and Emma Silver had five children, Angelique, 1811 Estrellita, 1815 Pablo 1816, Diego 1818.and Amelia 1820. In the late 1820's the Anglos began arriving in droves. Never one to escape which way the wind was blowing, Estevan de la Cruz became Steven Cross and he subsequently anglicized his children’s names.

Angelique Cross married Texian patriot Alexander Stewart in 1836. Their son Jefferson Stewart was born in 1836. He became one of the men to wear the mask of Zorro.

On a trip to New Orleans to visit her brother in 1832, Emma took her second eldest daughter, Estrellita along. Estrillita de la Cruz met and fell in love with a young Scottish sailor named Britton Reid whom she latter married.

Pablo de la Cruz, AKA Paul Cross made his way to New Orleans and established strong ties with his cousin John Silver. They made a fortune in War profiteering during the Texas Revolution and Mexican War.
    Paul had a child born out of wedlock with a prostitute Phoebe Regret. The son Paul Regret became a gambler and duelist, and unwilling Texas Ranger. His story was told in the Paul Wellman novel and film Comancheros.

Paul Cross’ son Jeremiah Cross acquired a fortune in Louisiana and Texan oil. Jeremiah’s son, Noah Cross made a huge fortune in oil, tobacco and Californian water rights. He was a thoroughly despicable human being as can be seen in the film Chinatown.

    The partnership between John Silver and Paul Cross did much to heal the rift between the Silvers and the Crosses. By 1839, all had been forgiven. Amelia Cross accompanied her brother and John Silver on a trip to New York state. Upon a visit to New York City, Amelia Cross met Jason West a wealthy merchant.  Pleased with the match, Paul Cross arranged for his sister to be married.

Argus Silver married Yvette De Marginy, (sister to one of Laffite’s men) .in 1815 and had issue, John, 1817, Francis, 1820, Louisa 1821, Thomas 1825 Abigail 1825.

John took over the smuggling and illegal operations of the family fortune after Argus was killed in a duel in 1837 He married Isabella DeMarginy, a cousin,  daughter of Henri DeMarginy in 1838 and had issue one son, Lancelot b, 1839. John's cousin Estrellita and her husband Britton Reid became very good friends of his. John had used his connections to discover the whereabouts of Benjamin Cartwright, who also became his good friend and eventually his Uncle by marriage, his mother’s youngest sister Marie, becoming Ben Cartwright's third wife.

Yvette’s and Marie’s brother Henri De Marginy remained in New Orleans where he established an antiquities shop, specializing in arcane and occult items. His grand son also named Henri fought against the machinations of the Lovecraft’s Elder Gods and even traveled to the dimension known as the Land of Dreams as portrayed in Brian Lumley’s The Burrowers Beneath, the Clock of Dreams andThe Transformation of Titus Crow.

In 1853 when Daniel Reid went east for an education, Lancelot Silver pestered his father to go along. John sent him to stay with his brother’s family. When war was imminent, John sent for his son to return home. Lancelot refused; furthermore he informed his father that if the South should try to secede he would stay on the side of the Union. John Silver told his son that if he ever did that he would disown him. When war broke out and Lancelot Silver joined a volunteer New York regiment, John Silver disowned him.

He regretted his actions when he was informed that Lancelot was killed in action in 1863. His attitude was also tempered by the fact that the Reid brothers had also opted to fight for the Union. In 1865 John Silver was diagnosed as having terminal cancer on the same day that he was informed that the worthless gold mine that Estevan de la Cruz had given to his father had silver in it.

Knowing that the Reid’s ranch had been destroyed and having no desire for his ne’er do well brother Thomas to get a hold of the silver mine, he left it to Daniel and John Reid. The merchant house and shipping lines he transferred to his brother Francis but their ne'er do well brother Thomas got a local judge to transfer control of them to him. By 1869, he had gambled away both businesses.

Thomas Silver 1825-1874, was a drunkard, gambler and it is rumored a procurer. At the age of fifteen he seduced the daughter of a well established Creole family the wealthy and mysterious de la Rougierres, and made her pregnant, After being thoroughly beaten, he married her and then promptly left town for a few years. Their child was born 1840 Yancy de la Rougierre Silver. Yancey de la Rougierre Silver, who used the alias of Yancy Derringer. Yancy Derringer was an operative of the mysterious Westerfield Club, and an operative of US. Intelligence working in New Orleans, Derringer reported directly to General Benjamin Butler, Military Governor of Louisiana. Derringer was also an Eridanean adoptee.  His partner Pahoo-Ka-Ta Wah was actually Tonto under a different name. Tonto adopted the identity of a Pawnee for this mission. Their adventures were portrayed in the western television series Yancy Derringer. Although the series was set in the late 1870s, the events portrayed actually took place during the United States occupation of New Orleans during the Civil War.

     In 1866, Derringer got news that the Reid brothers were going to be eliminated because of Dan Reid’s possible knowledge of the true nature of President Lincoln’s assassination and possibly other matters. A Capellean by the name of Butch Cavendish had been dispatched to kill them. Knowing of Tonto’s acquaintance ship with the brothers, he dispatched him to warn them and prevent the assassination. Tonto arrived just in time to see them cut down in an ambush. After the Cavendish gang had left, Tonto had rushed in and ascertained that all but one of the Rangers was apparently dead. He buried all four bodies rapidly in a mass grave and then carries the wounded Ranger to safety. When he returned for supplies he thought the grave had been either looted or set upon by predators. He covered it up without noticing one of the bodies was missing.

Thomas tried his hand at several occupations but mostly wandered the Southwest aimlessly. He married, (without benefit of divorce from his first wife) by whom he had issue, James Silver. Thomas' wanderlust hit him shortly after the baby was born and he left his second wife and child. This child became the famed prospector, gambler and lawman Arizona Jim Silver, great grandfather to Greatheart Silver.

Francis went to New York to establish himself in the family shipping business; he married __________ and in 1850 found himself in charge of the family shipping business when his Uncle, his two sons and their families died, their excursion ship to the Caribbean  lost at sea.

Lancelot Silver b.1839-d? The son of John Silver and Isabella de Marginy, which makes him the cousin of Daniel Reid, John Reid and Joseph Cartwright. When his friend and cousin went east to be educated he convinced his father to send him as well. His uncle used their family connections get Lancelot a slot at West Point in 1856. He graduated on he eve of the War and became a Cavalry officer in the Union Army, over the strenuous objections of his father, who disowned him.

    At Chancellorsville, his commanding officer fled before the face of the enemy, striking him down when Lancelot attempted to stop him. Lancelot was captured and spent a year in a Confederate prison but escaped by substituting himself with a corpse. However, the Confederates reported him as dead and he was taken captive by Union forces and held prisoner until his identity could be established. It was only a coincidence that another cousin, James West an intelligence operative spotted him and established his bonafides. Although the foul up with his name was still on the books, Lancelot became an operative for Secret Service using the code name Sylvester Knight.

    One assignment in 1865 found him in Cuba preventing a Confederate Filibusters from taking control of the land. Aiding him in this was a man who called himself Juan Largo y Plata. He was a dead ringer for his father’s painting of Jean Laffite but only appeared forty years of age. Aiding in this mission was a young lady of British heritage who was oddly enough an acquaintance of Largo y Plata. Knight and the young lady hit it off tremendously but the mission fled with her and Largo fleeing in one direction and Knight fleeing in the other. The woman was an Eridanean operative whose initials were CB. Her son was given the name Adam Knight he became a wealthy industrialist.  Among Adam Knight's descendants were Wilton Knight and Emma Peel nee' Knight.

    Lancelot returned to the United States in 1866. With the war over he made his way to New Orleans to discover his father dead, their business, home and all its furnishings sold.

    Also he was informed that his cousins, John and Daniel Reid had joined the Texas Rangers and had been killed in ambush. In a seriously disillusioned state of mind, he received a telegram from an acquaintance of his Uncle, Commodore Vanderbilt. He asked Lancelot to work to become an operative of the mysterious Westerfield Club. The Club would set him up in a lavish lifestyle at the prestigious Carlteon Hotel in San Francisco and in return they would on occasion call upon him to carry out delicate missions, to carry out justices that the government and the law either could not or would not do. He was given the code name Paladin, his code phrase Have Gun, Will Travel.

    During his career as Paladin, he adopted a young boy whose parents had been killed by gunslingers. The boy was named Boone Paladin became a successful hotel owner. Boone Paladin's son and name sake branched out into motels creating the Paladin motel chain.  The motel chain figured prominently in the Vengeance Unlimted television series in which a man calling himself Mr. Chapel was a modern day Paladin. The name could also be a code name, related to the Paladin one. For in Arthurian legend, Sir Lancelot entered the Chapel Perilous and left with a sword that cured wounds, a violent weapon to heal injuries.

        Although it cannot be proven there is some evidence that in the late 1890's Paladin retired as a gun for hire and assumed the identity of Hec Ramsey a former Marshal who used modern criminological methods to solve mysterious crimes.

Paladin had two Chinese servants, who were also operatives of the Westerfield Club, as ordinary and obsequious servants they gathered intelligence for Paladin and other operatives of the club. They were a married couple and their son, James Wong, partially trained by Paladin, became a Westerfield operative and private detective operating in San Francisco as detailed in the stories of Hugh Wiley.



© 2000 Dennis Power